By: dune_

The Hellbourne unearthed this creature from
the shifting sands of the Great Waste.
He could originally speak but a single word, which
has become his name — Pharaoh. It seems he must
once have been a mighty king, wrapped as he is in golden finery,
but now he is simply a monster, summoning forth his dead
servants from the grave and conjuring fire and fear across the land.

Table of Contents

1 - Introduction
1.1 - Stats

2 - Skills
2.1 - Skill Descriptions
2.2 - Skill Build
2.3 - Skill Justification and Explanation

3 - Items
3.1 - Item Build
3.1.1 - Early and Core Items
3.1.2 - Late and Luxury Items
3.1.3 - Situational Items

4 - Gameplay
4.1 - Laning
4.2 - Ganking
4.3 - Pushing


Alright, so you've fired up your favourite game (i.e. Heroes of Newerth) and found yourself the lucky lucky owner of a brand new Pharaoh. But a problem arises, where do you start? What do you buy? How do you work this crazy thing? Fear not, for all shall be revealed below.

Pharaoh is easily one of my favourite heroes simply for his playing style. He is an incredibly versatile ganker, pusher and even can find himself as a decent semi-carry. His DotA counterpart, Clockwerk [sic] Goblin, has seen steadily increasing action in the high-level scene due to his raw power as a tank which still holds the threat level required to really put some hurt down on the enemy team. Thus, without further ado, I would like to introduce the Pharaoh.


Attack Type - Melee
Attack Damage - 53-57
Attack Range - 125

Movement Speed - 310
Armor - 2.9

Strength - 24 (Primary)
Agility - 13
Intelligence - 17

Strength per level - 2.4
Agility per level - 1.4
Intelligence per level - 1.3

Now, looking at these stats, what should be noted? Firstly, he is a strength hero with a decent strength gain (but by no means a Keeper of the Forest). This means that although he will have an easy time early with health, he will require a boost to get his health above the 2,000 mark in the transition between the mid- and late-game. Next, his intelligence is nothing fantastic and remains a rather poor progression as he levels. This is important to bear in mind particularly when in lane simply due to the fact that you will not always be able to cast any spell you want at any point. His agility is poor, though we can forgive him considering that this hero is nothing more than a corpse, but as it stands it is below-average. Nevertheless, this should not be a worry as attack speed is not something which should concern the Pharaoh.


Skill Descriptions

- [Q]

Pharaoh conjures plumes of fire around him for a short duration, hitting random nearby enemy targets, damaging each and stunning them briefly.

Impacts random target in a 300 unit area around self every 0.75 seconds for 10 seconds. Dealing 10/30/50/70 magic damage an stunning for 0.1 seconds

Mana Cost: 75
Cooldown: 32/28/24/20 seconds

Hellfire is the skill which will keep your enemies not wanting to get near your creeps. It works similarly to Torturer's Impalement skill but will mini-stun with each hit, making it difficult for some heroes to cast their spells effectively. The damage potential of this spell is fantastic with fourteen mini-stuns launched per cast. Thus, at level four, this spell can do up to 980 magic damage (before magic reduction) if you happen to find someone on their own. Its mana cost is incredibly low and this will help with the Pharaoh's low intelligence gain. Definitely a must for this hero.

Wall of Mummies - [W]

Pharaoh summons a wall of Mummies around himself and anyone close enough to him. Enemies who come close will be pushed away, causing damage and draining some mana.

Spawns 8 mummies for 3/4/5/6 seconds. Deals 55/70/85/100 true damage, drains 55/70/85/100 mana and pushes back enemies who come near.

Mana Cost: 50/60/70/80
Cooldown: 15 seconds

This skill is a rare multi-purpose spell. Upon casting in a ring of mummies will appear around Pharaoh (and anyone who happens to be close to him). Anybody approaching from the outside of the ring will be pushed back if they make contact with a mummy. The mummies can be destroys by attacking them and will be destroyed in one hit if attacked by Pharaoh but will require three hits by anyone else. The two main purposes for casting this spell are to trap an unfortunate enemy in with you whilst your Hellfire mercilessly tears into them and also as an escape mechanism - if you are being chased, simply summon the mummies in a chokepoint and then attack one in order to make your escape. Anyone attempting to run into the mummies will be hit for a bit of damage and mana. Though this is a nice skill, it is unwise to take this before level four, particularly in favour of Pharaoh's other skills, and only at level four if you truly feel that your teammates can't get a good disable off. Nevertheless, when you start ganking more in the mid-game, this skill will become invaluable.

Tormented Soul - [E]

Pharaoh unleashes a tormented soul toward a target location anywhere on the map. The soul self-destructs when it reaches the designated location, releasing its dark energy to damage nearby enemies.

Launches a projectile dealing 80/120/160/200 magic damage and revealing a 600 unit area for 5/10/15/20 seconds.

Mana Cost: 50
Cooldown: 30/25/20/15 seconds

Easily the most entertaining skill available to the Pharaoh. With this spell you can keep any lane pushed, help yourself to last-hits without getting too close to the action, reveal an incoming gank and occasionally finish off that low-low-HP hero running back to the Well. Its low mana cost is perfect for Pharaoh's mana pool and the sheer usefulness of this spell is beyond description. If a lane is being pushed but everyone is busy or pushing themselves, you can launch a Soul at the area and suddenly all the creeps will be at almost half-health. If you are having trouble getting last-hits, you can throw one of these out from behind your ranged creep to grab some easy kills. Once you get used to the projectile speed, you can even use it to harass a retreating enemy hero on his way back from the lane.

Wrath of the Pharaoh (Ultimate) - [R]

Pharaoh directs all of his focus in a target direction. His focus is so intense it takes a physical form as it travels in the desired direction. If it impacts with an enemy unit it will damage and stun them and Pharaoh will charge towards its direction.

Hooks enemy at 2000/2500/3000 range, dealing 100/200/300 magic damage and stunning for 1/1.5/2 seconds to all enemy units in a 200 unit area.

Mana Cost: 150
Cooldown 80/60/40 seconds

This spell will keep enemies worried about solo-farming a lane. Here is where the Pharaoh's ganking potential is realised in full. It works similarly to Devourer's hook, save that it will drag the Pharaoh to the target instead of the target to Pharaoh. Any units that come within 200 units of the Pharaoh will take the damage and stun from the ability. The synergy with this is easily apparent with relation to both the Wall of Mummies and Hellfire. The speed of the projectile of this spell is tremendous and it makes aiming it even more simple than expected. Use this frequently when initiating a gank or attempting to chase down a fleeing enemy. Be wary, though, it is wise to scout the area around the target first by using a Tormented Soul to make sure you aren't jumping into a trap!

Skill Build

1 - Tormented Soul
2 - Hellfire
3 - Hellfire
4 - Tormented Soul
5 - Hellfire
6 - Wrath of the Pharaoh
7 - Hellfire
8 - Tormented Soul
9 - Tormented Soul
10 - Wall of Mummies
11 - Wrath of the Pharaoh
12 - Wall of Mummies
13 - Wall of Mummies
14 - Wall of Mummies
15 - Stats
16 - Wrath of the Pharaoh

Justification and Explanation
Tormented Soul at level one is useful immediately as it is possible to launch a Soul at the lanes to see who you will be laning against (and to annoy them with a little bit of damage!). Once you actually get into the lane, it can come in handy for getting the odd last hit that you would not normally get. Generally, you will be in a lane with a partner and as such you should try to get as much farm as you can. Don't be afraid to use this when you want to get the last hits, provided you always have enough mana for at least one Hellfire. Hellfire is maxed as soon as possible as this will be your main damage spell. If you see the enemy too far away from their tower, be prepared to pop a Hellfire and start running them down. You'll be surprised at how fast they will drop to even a level two Hellfire. Wrath is skilled at every level possible as the mana cost remains constant whilst the damage, range, stun and cooldown all improve. Even though the damage from Wrath early on will be minimal, the stun and drag that comes with it allow Pharaoh to literally throw himself into the fray. Wall of Mummies is skilled after maxing the other two spells simply because for sheer utility the other two are far more useful than the Mummies. I have found from personal experience that the mini-stuns from Hellfire are more than enough to chase an enemy down, though you may want to consider skilling this at level four if you truly feel it necessary.


Item Build

Early and Core Items

Initial Build Cost:
Runes of Blight - 90
Health Potion - 100
Logger's Hatchet - 225
Minor Totem x 2 - 106 (53 x 2)
--- --- --- --- ---
Total - 521 gold

Ideally this should be your starting gear. The Runes and Potion will keep you in good health - just remember that potions will dispell upon taking damage, but the runes will not. The Logger's Hatchet will increase your farming potential greatly, and is a key item for any high-farming melee hero. The two Minor Totems are to give you some early stats and also to eventually make into a Power Supply. Note that if none of your teammates are willing to share/buy a Monkey Courier (200), it is highly recommended that you exchange the Logger's Hatchet for a Courier and pick a Hatchet up later if needed.

Once farming commences you should be aiming to get to this stage:

Core Build Cost:
Enhanced Marchers - 1550 (500 + 500 + 500)
Bottle - 600
Shaman's Headdress - 2350 (375 + 375 + 650 + 950)
Homecoming Stones - 135
Power Supply - 225 (200 + 125 + Totems listed above)
Staff of the Master - 4300 (1200+1000+1000+1100)
--- --- --- --- ---
Total - 8975 gold + Homecoming Stones

Mana Battery should be the first thing you buy from the Outpost as it will allow you to remain in lane for much longer without having to burn through your Runes and Potions too quickly. Not only this, but it will literally be a Mana Battery, giving you all the Mana you could need from it's charges. Remember though that this item does not give you an endless supply and as such prudent use of your Mana is still necessary. After this, Bottle and Power Supply should be the first things you get from your Courier. It is a fantastic way to keep your health up as well as topping up your Mana if you need one more Tormented Soul or Hellfire. It will keep you laning for longer and keep you alive as well. Don't hesitate to go off now and again to try to get one of the Runes which spawn in the river. From here it is wise to get either Helm of the Victim as it gives you nice HP regen and a decent boost to your armour or Glowstone for a cost efficient HP and Mana boost. From there it is prudent to start making Enhanced Marchers if you have not already, for they will not only give you a nice boost to damage, but most importantly allow you to phase through creep waves to get to your enemies or low-hp creeps in tricky places - an absolute must. Shaman's Headdress is completed next as it holds almost universal application, given that almost every hero will have at least some form of a nuke - especially with the prominence of heroes like Defiler and Thunderbringer. The Power Supply will give you a nice +3 to all stats as well as increasing the charge-capacity, allowing for further Mana/HP regen throughout the mid-game, keeping you a bigger threat even if you are unable to get hold of enough runes. Finally, completing Staff of the Master will increase the potential of your Ultimate greatly. The effects of the Staff on Pharaoh reduce the Cooldown on Wrath of the Pharaoh to 20 seconds and furthermore it will hook you to allied units instead of simply failing. This is incredibly useful not only for the cooldown, but also for the escape mechanism of having a ~3000 range saving-hook.

**It should be noted that Staff of the Master is a far better item to get if you feel that the opposing team are lacking in heavy-nukers.**

Late and Luxury Items

Ok, the first item you should be aiming for is generally...

Barrier Idol Cost:
Shaman's Headdress (listed above) - 2350
Refreshing Ornament - 603 (53 + 350 + 200)
Recipe - 1000
--- --- --- --- ---
Total - 3953 gold

Barrier Idol is an absolutely beautiful item not just for you but the whole team. In a team fight, you can almost be assured that it will give your whole team an extra 400 health (300 hero health given that the barrier itself has no magic armour) as it is unlikely that there will be a single hero that does not take 400 damage of nukes during a fight. This is therefore a massive boost to the team which can be applied every fifty seconds. Be aware, though, that the barrier will only last eight seconds and as such do not pop it too early or you will lose all the benefits of it.

Now if you find yourself with a particularly wonderful farm (~3-4 kills per minute with no more than three or four deaths) then your best friend will be...

Mock of Brilliance Cost:
Sword of the High - 3800
Reciple - 1350
--- --- --- --- ---
Total - 5150 gold

Mock of Brilliance makes you even more of a threat to the enemy, as well as providing you with a fantastic farming implement. The AoE burn and bonus damage will see you netting kill after kill both from creeps and heroes. An absolute must if you are farming well.

From here, the next big Luxury item is the wonder which is...

Frostfield Plate Cost:
Platemail - 1400
Acolyte's Staff - 2700
Recipe - 600
--- --- --- --- ---
Total - 4700 gold

Frostfield Plate not only adds another nuke to your impressive arsenal, but it also gives a worryingly powerful slow which can be used after jumping into a fight with Wrath.

If a game ever goes to the point where you are able to get all the above three, the game will most likely be very close to ending. However, there is always room for...

Behemoth's Heart Cost:
Axe of the Malphai - 3200
Beast Heart - 1100
Recipe - 1200
--- --- --- --- ---
Total - 5500 gold

Behemoth's Heart will make you nigh-on invincible - providing you with a 950 HP bonus and an incredible HP regen to boot. The icing on the embalmed and wrapped cake that is the Pharaoh.

Situational Items

Now this is where things may get a bit weird, but bear with me, for these have had great potential in my experience.

The first of this sideshow is none other than...

Puzzlebox Cost:
Neophytes Book - 1000
Bolstering Armband - 450
Recipe - 1300/2600/3900
--- --- --- --- ---
Total - 2750/4050/5350 gold

This is a fantastic item to get after completing the Core Build if you find that you are having trouble with people like Night Hound or Scout. Simply Wrath into one of them, pop the Wall of Mummies, then Hellfire and then this little bad boy and they will be at your mercy. The damage from the Puzzlebox creeps will do wonders for your DPS as well as a nifty mana burn and true sight at level three. The boost to your Intelligence and Strength are a welcome addition to the inventory as well.

Now, if you are struggling against an opposing carry hero, then I recommend...

Totem of Kuldra Cost:
Acolytes Staff - 2700
Blessed Orb - 2100
Manatube - 875
--- --- --- --- ---
Total - 5675 gold

The Totem of Kuldra allows for you to disable an enemy carry for three and a half seconds, allowing the rest of your team to focus him down. Not only that, but it will solve any mana problems you may have for the rest of the game. An extra 10 to strength helps bring you even higher up the HP scale as well.

The final item in this lineup comes as...

Hellflower Cost:
Great Arcana - 1675
Great Arcana - 1675
Great Arcana - 1675
--- --- --- --- ---
Total - 5025 gold

Hellflower may seem a very odd choice indeed, and it is one which I would not often get myself unless in a very tough situation. The main enemy you would want to be taking down with this item would be someone along the lines of Valkyrie or Magebane - one that can easily blink away from your stuns the moment they get the chance. Whether you decide to take this over Kuldra is entirely up to you, but often you will find yourself much more attracted to Kuldra than this.



In most situations as Pharaoh, you will find yourself laning in one of the two sidelanes. Ideally you should be in your Short lane as a melee hero who needs a decent farm - this will help you to farm by keeping you close to your tower. In your lane you should be partnered with a ranged hero (preferably support) and should take up the role as the primary farmer, and as such last-hitting is vital. Generally you should be able to keep up a steady farm only by using your normal attack. If the case presents itself where there is a creep on low health which you don't think you will be able to get, it is entirely acceptable to use Tormented Soul to take it. In the early game, you should not concentrate on ganking outside of your lane, but if anyone wishes to come and gank your lane then you will be more than able to help get the kill. By activating Hellfire and running towards the enemy, their general reaction will be to fall back away from the creep wave. Unfortunately for them, this creates the ideal situation for Hellfire to approach its full damage potential. Effective attack-moving here is vital to ensure that you can hit the enemy and immediately continue chasing forward to keep them in range of the Hellfire. Be sure to use Tormented Soul here when possible to drop their health even more quickly. If you manage to do this effectively then you should be able to pick up one or two early kills without too much trouble (provided you have decent backup from teammates!).

At the early stage, your first goal should be to farm up for the Bottle, followed swiftly by Helm of the Victim. Once you have these two items, you will find that you rarely have to return to the fountain for health and can be less frugal with your mana. Remember that although your spells are cheap, they are not free! Use them wisely and do not spam them when unnecessary. As the game progresses towards the ten-minute mark and beyond, you should be at least well on your way to completing the Enhanced Marchers if not already finished with them. From here, finishing off the Shaman's Headdress will be of paramount importance to your survival against multiple level four nukes. By the time you have reached the levels 9-11 you should be finished with your Core Build and should be prepared to start helping the team in a much more active manner.


Here's where things get much more fun. With Wrath of the Pharaoh, you are able to initiate a gank from a tremendous distance. If you intend to use this ulti to get stuck in, there a few things you should bear in mind: Firstly, ensure that you have a clear line of attack to your enemy. The 'hook' will not travel through allied units and heroes and will not drag you in if you miss. Secondly, you should remember that the spell travels at a very fast speed, meaning that you do not need to judge the movement of the enemy too greatly as one would for Valkyrie's Javelin or Devourer's Hook. Finally, bear in mind that there is a 200 area of effect on the stun and damage, thus, you do not always need to hit the target if he is standing amongst a creep-wave as hitting any of the creeps will generally affect him as well. Once you have charged in, immediately activate Hellfire followed by Enhanced Marchers. This will keep you moving at a high speed for six seconds whilst your Hellfire damages the enemy. Furthermore, the ability to 'Phase' through the enemy will make it much easier to effectively get off your Wall of Mummies. Remember that you will have to be standing very close indeed to the enemy to effectively trap them in the Wall - patience is the key!

It is prudent to note that although you are a powerful ganker, you should not focus solely on this role. When possible, you should continue your farm in order to keep your late-game potential alive. If there are no enemies in vulnerable and easily accessible positions, then you should feel free to continue farming to get to your higher-tier items such as Shrunken Head, Frostfield Plate or ideally Mock of Brilliance.


Here is where the uniqueness of Pharaoh really shines through. If you are able to get a Mock of Brilliance, then you have already turned yourself into a one-man pushing machine simply through the AoE damage. Thus, with teammates available to aid the push, lanes should be withering under your combined efforts. However, this is not where your role ends. It is a little-disputed fact that an enemy will have a much harder time defending on multiple fronts. With your Tormented Soul, it is advised that you should use it to hit other lanes than the one you are currently pushing. The 200 damage across the entire wave will put the odds strongly in your creeps's favour. With a 15 second cooldown, you will be able to throw out a Soul frequently enough to not only keep all lanes pushed, but you should also be able to pick up several creep kills with this method.

But what if you do not wish to take the base-towers and instead simply want a single one? This is where the Tormented Soul can become a little more tricky. It is important to ensure that you do not push into a trap where your team will simply be wiped. Thus, when pushing a single lane you should generally use the Tormented Soul to scout out the surrounding area, rather than the creep wave. However, there is a method which can become very effective if used accurately. If you notice, the creep waves at top will mirror the opposing creep waves at bottom. Thus, for example, when you see your creeps at top reaching the first tower, you know that the opposing creeps at bottom will be at the first tower. Use this to your advantage! What you are trying to do here is to let off a Tormented Soul which will hit the creep-wave before it reaches the fight. This is doubly useful as not only does it damage and weaken the creep wave, but it will also reveal the area over which the Soul passes; pushing the lane and looking for defenders around the tower at the same time!

Hopefully, I have convinced you of t wonders which is the Pharaoh - a hero which seems rather under-used or misunderstood. In the high-level DotA scene, his counterpart is one of the strongest picks currently available in performing as a tank, initiator and semi-carry. Fortunately, the HoN developers saw it in their infinite wisdom to port over this powerhouse, and with such a blessing one cannot leave it go un-thanked. Please use Pharaoh his full potential (so long as I don't get to him first :P) and you will reap the rewards of one of the most satisfyingly versatile heroes in the game.